By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Swenson
Early on in the investigation, some witnesses referred to telephone banks that had been used in the anti-recall effort, and it was speculated that perhaps the phone banks were funded by the checks issued to One Stop Enterprises, Inc. However, the witnesses who initially stated this have since recanted it, and Ileana Morales has now stated, and Elba Morales verified, that there were no phone banks organized for the anti-recall effort, and there was no other active work done on the anti-recall issue for the monies paid to One Stop Enterprises.
At the time the two checks were issued to One Stop Enterprises, according to Elba Morales, she and Miriam Alonso were deciding on which individuals to ask to cash checks from the "Neighbors of District 12" account. According to Elba Morales, Ms. Alonso suggested to her that a $10,000 payment to a phone bank could be easily justified, and One Stop Enterprises could be listed as having operated the phone banks. Two checks were subsequently issued to One Stop, one for $4815, and the second for $5185. The first check was used to open an account under One Stop Enterprises at a Washington Mutual Bank branch, and the second check was deposited two days later into the same account. A check from this account was subsequently issued to Vanessa Morales, a close friend of Ileana Morales, for $8000, which she stated she cashed and turned over to Ileana Morales. Elba Morales and Ileana Morales both stated to your affiants that the $8000 was then turned over by Ileana Morales to Elba Morales, who, in turn, stated she gave it to Miriam Alonso. A second check from the One Stop account for $500 was written to "Cash" and cashed by Elba Morales, who stated that she did cash it and turned the U.S. currency over to Miriam Alonso.
Elba Morales stated that of the remaining $1500 from the funds paid to One Stop Enterprises, $1200 was allotted with Alonso's permission to Elba Morales's daughter, Christine Morales, for her use in paying her federal income taxes for 1998. The reason for this, according to Elba Morales, was that Christine Morales had cashed $8500 worth of checks during Miriam Alonso's 1998 re-election campaign and returned the cash to Elba Morales, who then gave the cash to Miriam Alonso. Christine Morales had incurred federal income tax liability due to her acceptance of those checks. Elba Morales also stated that at the time that Christine Morales was to file her 1998 Federal income tax return in early 1999, Miriam Alonso had agreed to allow Elba Morales to apply monies still owed to Alonso by Morales from checks that had been issued to One Stop Enterprises from the "Neighbors of District 12" account toward Christine Morales's federal income taxes for 1998. This reduced by $1200 the amount of monies owed to Miriam Alonso from checks that had been cashed.
Elba Morales stated that the remaining $300 from the $1500 not turned over to Miriam Alonso was paid back to Miriam Alonso when Elba Morales cashed a personal check from her First Union bank account. In fact, the $1200 supposed to have been allotted to cover Christine Morales's tax bill was actually spent by Ileana Morales and Vanessa Morales to cover personal bills of theirs.
VANESSA MORALES ($18,000)
Vanessa Morales is a close friend of Ileana Morales, and the two share an apartment in the Miami Beach area. Vanessa received a total of three checks from the "Neighbors of District 12" bank account. These were as follows: Check No. 1003, dated 11/30/99, for $3000; Check No. 1019, dated 01/14/00, for $10,000; and Check No. 1020, dated 11/30/99, for $5000.
With regards to the first check, Elba Morales stated that she gave the check to Vanessa on the day it was cashed, December 23, 1999; that Vanessa took the check and cashed it at a Union Planters Bank branch; and that Vanessa returned to Elba Morales's apartment and turned the $3000 in U.S. currency over to Elba Morales. Vanessa, who initially told your affiants that she performed work on the anti-recall effort, has recanted her prior statements and has become a cooperating witness in this investigation. Vanessa Morales has now admitted that she did no such work and has verified the testimony of Elba Morales. Elba Morales also stated that she took the cash from Vanessa and shortly afterward took it to Miriam Alonso's residence, where she turned all of that cash over to Ms. Alonso.
According to Elba Morales, the second check, which was written on January 14, 2000, for $10,000, was written by Vanessa Morales herself, at Elba Morales's direction. January 14, 2000, was the day after Elba Morales's husband, Orlando Morales, had passed away, and Miriam Alonso had requested that Elba withdraw some funds from the "Neighbors of District 12" account for her (Miriam Alonso). Elba Morales stated that she instructed Vanessa Morales to fill out the check and cash it. Vanessa verified this information, and stated that she turned the cash over to Elba Morales at her apartment. Later that day, Elba Morales stated that she was at the funeral home during her husband's viewing, when Miriam Alonso arrived to pay her respects. The viewing took place at the Rivero Funeral Home, which is located at the 8200 block of SW 40th Street in Miami, FL. According to Elba Morales, during the visit she spoke briefly to Miriam Alonso about the money and inconspicuously slipped a bank envelope containing $8000 in U.S. currency into Miriam Alonso's purse. According to Elba Morales, Miriam Alonso had agreed to lend her the two-thousand-dollar balance from the check to help pay whatever outstanding bills she had as a result of her husband's death.